After having reviewed the five fully online masters programs in forensic psychology, numerous requests were received for more information on the campus-based masters programs in forensic psychology that are available. Thus, this series of articles will review each of the masters programs in forensic psychology and provide information on each program in a similar format so as to assist in comparisons between the various options.
The goal of this series of articles is simply to provide information in a consistent format to assist those individuals who are considering an education in forensic psychology and not to convince anyone to attend a particular program. Having been a professor in this field for the last 13 years I am familiar at some level with almost every forensic psychology program available in North America. Many undergraduate students are not familiar with all the possible options and so this series will lay them out in a consistent format for ease of comparison.
Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology – American International College
From the website : Psychology is a discipline with a bright future. Among fields requiring a college degree, it is expected to be one of the fastest growing fields in America, and to continue to grow steadily for at least another dozen years after that.
This program is designed for students with a baccalaureate degree in psychology, criminal justice or a closely related field. The forensic psychology program is primarily concerned with the application of psychological principles and skills to the understanding and functioning of the legal and criminal justice system.
The primary focus of the master’s degree program in forensic psychology at American International College is to prepare students for future graduate study. Upon completion of the degree, however, many students choose to obtain positions in a wide variety of public and private agencies and institutions, including prisons, juvenile facilities, social service and mental health agencies. Careers as forensic researchers and positions with Federal and State agencies are also possible with the growing major at American International College.
The information on the website and in their forensic psychology program brochure appears to indicate that there are no specializations in this program and that all students take the same course of study. The required courses consist of psychology courses, criminal justice courses, and an externship (fieldwork).
A total of 36 credits are required to complete this masters degree (33 credits of coursework + a 3-credit externship).
Not required (or offered).
A 3-credit externship is required to complete the masters degree in forensic psychology.
The program brochure describes what AIC considers to be the characteristics of a strong application as:
The admissions committee considers a holistic approach of each candidate’s application in assessing their potential to successfully complete the program. Candidates should have both the ability and desire to thrive within a demanding and stimulating environment. Qualities sought include: academic preparedness, intellectual curiosity, and communication skills.
Factors considered include an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better (on a 4.0 scale), personal goal statement, letters of recommendation, work experience if applicable, and ability to contribute to their classmates’ learning.
Tuition & Fees
Required Coursework (33 credits + the 3-credit externship; 11 courses + externship)
PSY402 Behavioral Statistics
PSY407 Applied Research Methodology
PSY515 Advanced Abnormal Psychology
PSY580 Principles of Forensic Psychology
PSY585 Assessment Techniques in Forensic Psychology
PSY590 Externship in Forensic Psychology
PSY614 Psychology of Development
Criminal Justice Component
CRJ434 Interpersonal Violence
CRJ438 Psychological Aspects of the Criminal Justice System
CRJ444 Ethics in Criminal Justice
CRJ451 Legal Aspects of Criminal Justice System
CRJ493 Counseling Skills for the Criminal Justice Professional
PSY470 Applied Research in Criminal Behavior
PSY516 Issues and Ethics in Psychology
PSY425 Counseling Theory and Practice
The website and program brochure did not provide a lot of information about this degree program. Interested students should be sure to inquire about the specific courses that they are required to take since the brochure and website list a total of 14 courses plus the externship requirement; however only 11 courses are required to complete the degree. There are clearly elective courses listed and so interested students should ask about how many elective courses they are able to take and how many courses from the psychology and criminal justice components are required. The course offerings appear to be quite applied in nature, meaning that research is neither emphasized nor required in this program of study. This appears to be a bit at odds with the stated mission of the program, which is to prepare students for future graduate study. Those students wishing to go on to further graduate study in forensic psychology should look for a program that requires (or at least offers) a masters thesis and that offers more than a single course in research methodology and in statistics.